WINNIPEG -- An animal rescue shelter is praising city workers for helping rescue 11 abandoned rats.

Cindy Hildebrand is the director of Popcorns and Binkies Rescue Haven and she said on March 29, she received an email from city workers saying several rats had been found in a cage at a worksite on Murray Avenue near North Main Street and the Perimeter Highway.

"When I got out there (the workers) had basically left it exactly how they had found it. So I was able to see this piece of carpet over a cage and when I lifted the carpet back and I had climbed into the ditch, there were at the time looked like about six to eight rats in the cage, but it turned out there were 11 in total," said Hildebrand.

rescued rats

The cage 11 rats were found in at a work site in northern Winnipeg. (Source: Popcorns and Binkies Rescue Haven/ Facebook)

She said it was one of the worst situations she had ever seen. The rats were greasy and covered in dirt, urine, and feces.

rescued rats

Some of the rats that were rescued. (Source: Popcorns and Binkies Rescue Haven/ Facebook)

"Because of where it was found, like this was literally a dirt road, the middle of pretty much nowhere, they didn't want them to be found."

Hildebrand thinks that these rats were previously used for breeding for snake food as there were eight males and three females.

"That's our best speculation; we'll never know for sure what happened."

Since they have been rescued Hildebrand said, the rats are doing better and are in okay condition. They were all given baths and received medical checks. One of the rats has an ulcer, while others have some bumps and lumps, but are doing well.

She even said one of them has given birth to babies but is unsure how many she had.

Hildebrand added the other two female rats are also expected to have babies.

All the rats are currently in foster care and she said this allows the rats to receive the proper care and nutrition.

rescued rats

The rescued rats after receiving a bath and some proper nutrition. (Source: Cindy Hildebrand)

None of the animals are up for adoptions just yet, as they will need to be in care for a few weeks before they can go to a new home. Hildebrand did say they have received a lot of interest in adoptions.

If people are interested in adopting any kind of small animal, Hildebrand says they should do their research first, as they can be a lot of work.

"A lot of people think small animals are easy to take care of because they are little, and they are actually not. They can be even a lot more responsibility than a dog or a cat."

She added that if people run into problems such as food or supplies, the rescue organization has supplies available for those who need them.

If they find they can't take of the animals anymore, she said people should contact her organization or other rescue shelters and that dumping the animals should not be an option for getting rid of them.